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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
32
4.4 out of 5 stars
Bloody Heroes
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change
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on 18 June 2012
A decent-ish read, however, the thing that grated on my nerves the most(as seen in other reviews) is the 'Commando Comic' style speech in the book. The Brits use 'mate' in nearly every sentence and the US forces respond with 'buddy' all the time. I think he keeps trying to give the stereotypical impression of the hard pressed but cheerful British Squaddie and the dumb Yanks. The Taliban fighters come out with comments like 'cowardly infidel dogs' and the italicized Arabic words grow tiresome after a while. The CIA Bob speech on the mountain was cringeworthy. Overall it reads like a boys own comic..... Shame, could have been a good read. (Serving member of HM forces, 13 years and counting)
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on 10 November 2012
I've read quite a few books and found this to be an exhilarating read. Like all non-fiction war based books you have to realise that they are told in the best way to captivate the reader, maybe they seem too farfetched to some of our readers, as per their comments on here. Damien Lewis has taken many accounts of this blistering account. It's a way better by far read that some books out there and puts to shame some of the journalist reports and accusations of the battle of Qala0I-Janghi Fortress! I would strongly recommend this book.
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on 25 July 2010
Terrible read. As a serving soldier, I can tell you that a) There are ALOT of factual errors in this book, which is odd considering the amount of SF soldiers who have apparently said it's brilliant and b) Contrary to what Lewis believes, not every sentence we speak has the word 'mate' in it. The same goes for the Americans and the word 'buddy'.

This would just about pass as a readable fiction book. But as a supposed true story it's laughable.

Avoid at all costs.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2006
One of the best, if not THE best, books ever written about Special Forces operations. Provides a wonderful insight into the personalities of some very special men who are driven only to do the right thing, not for money or glory, just the satisfaction of a job done well. The book actually covers three back to back operations starting with the first ever take-down of a ship in the open sea, then moves on to a surveillance operation, where some of the same soldiers had to climb a 15,000 foot mountain, carrying around 100 pounds of kit in their bergens, then stay up there unsupported for a week! That done, they are immediately sent to sort out the prison uprising which forms the main story, and that also took more than a week too conclude. Leaves the reader in awe of these special individuals. The cast of characters includes SAS, SBS, Delta, SEALs, CIA, and SOF. We all owe these guys a debt of honour, truly.
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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2008
This book isn't quite sure whether it wants to be a novel or a 'true' story. As a novel it's not bad but it is true only in the sense that it is based around true events with most of the narrative invented by the author. How, for example, could he know what the Taliban/Al Qaeda were saying to each other?
The battle scene in the fort is good - apart from the idea that an SBS operator would even try headshots to shoot three enemy while they were scaling a ladder!? And the scene where SBS and Northern Alliance soldiers ran into a minefield which, somehow, the NA soldiers didn't know about although they were stationed at the fort is laughable. [The prisoners could never have had the time or opportunity to have laid a minefield]. There is a bizarre episode where CIA Bob impresses Mat and the other SBS with his knowledge of Richard the Lionheart and Saladin - except the author thinks Richard never got further than Syria and Saladin had something to do with the Moorish conquest of Spain. This is sloppy research at its worst.

The use of the word 'mate' in every other sentence the SBS spoke was irritating in the extreme and totally artificial. As was the idea that Royal Marines SBS ranks would address the senior US officer at base camp as 'mate'. He also writes, "The enemy fighters had somehow worked out how to fire their RPGs at a forty-five-degree angle, so that the grenades acted something like mortar rounds". Again, an example of lazy composition: how could he not guess that they might have 'somehow' worked this out when fighting hundreds of thousands of Russians for year after year?
The inaccuracy and sloppiness in the book is also reflected in the photographs which are, presumably, used to add authenticity to the story. One picture of SBS/SAS roping onto the target ship MV Nisha shows them on a day with blue skies and white clouds. The second picture of the same event is shown on a day, heavily overcast with grey clouds. Also the Naka Valley observation post is shown as being set amongst conifers, which at 12,000ft would have been above the upper limit for trees.

The Epilogue gives a sound, objective analysis of the background to the incident - it is a pity he did not bother to employ the same discipline when writing the book. As a 'war story' it's not a bad read - but as a 'true' story it falls way short of a reasonable standard.

Another reviewer mentioned that SBS should stand for Special Boat Squadron - but the author did get this right. The name was changed to Special Boat Service at the same time non-Royal Marines were allowed to join for the first time - and when the motto was changed from 'Not By Strength, By Guile' to 'By Strength and By Guile'
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on 20 September 2010
A++++++ Read. Damien Lewis is an outstanding story teller !! The story of 'The Stan' is well told in this rip roaring story of the early days shortly after 9/11. I could not put it down and read it cover to cover whilst on standbys during my last tour of duty as a Paramedic solo responder. I thoroughly recommend it.
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on 7 July 2006
Now i'm not one for reading books BUT - From the moment i picked this book up i found it hard to put down. The courage and the skill of the UK and US special forces are brought to light more than ever. As you follow them on a story that kept me hooked till the end.

The book starts with the SBS (special boat service) and SAS (special air service) landing an attack on a ship that was on its way towards to the River Themes. The ship was controlled by terroist with a cargo full of chemical warfare ready to blow London.

Then you follow Matt from the SBS and his team through the biggest operations of Afghanistan. Where at some ponits you wonder how an earth they will get out alive.

Highly recommended
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on 11 May 2016
a good read. just lacked a little something but still couldn't put it down once I got going
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on 10 November 2014
Fantastic read
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on 17 May 2008
Damien Lewis is a great author, But please get facts correct!! I served for nine years in the Royal Marines Commandos, at that time the S.B.S. was part of the Corps of Royal Marines not the army! In his book " Bloody Heroes " Damien makes no mention this. He does however correctly state the S.B.S. base is at Poole in Dorset. ( this also the base of the R.M. landing craft squadrons ) S.B.S. stands for Special Boat Squadron not Special Boat Service.in his book on page 4 Damien refers to a basic grade S.B.S. rank as Trooper!not correct! The basic R.M. rank is MARINE either 1st or 2nd class. For further information please the book " The SBS Special Boat Squadron " by Philip Warner. ( my copy displays the Royal Marines crest on the front cover)
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